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Military Moe

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There is a large overlap between fans of cute girls doing cute things and fans of heavy military equipment doing explosive things. Starting in the aughts and continuing into The New '10s, anime producers started to notice this overlap and started making shows to cater to both tastes simultaneously.

A Military Moe show features cute girls in the military, or in military-like situations (Girls und Panzer, for example, is about tank combat as a high school sport). It will often feature Good-Looking Privates both on the battlefield and in their personal lives, juxtaposing the two in whatever way best fits the tone of the story, whether dramatically, saddeningly or comically. Expect varying levels of Fanservice. Usually a World of Action Girls.

It can be divided into two styles: One where the Moe girls operate the equipment (Girls und Panzer, The Magnificent Kotobuki), and one where the girls are the equipment (KanColle, Upotte!!)

See Small Girl, Big Gun, which many characters are likely to sport in some fashion. Sister Trope of Girls with Guns.

Note: This trope describes a show, not a character. Individual characters may fall under Good-Looking Privates.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel is about the mysterious Fleet of Fog and their Mental Models, human female avatars of World War II era warships armed with advanced weapons and technology where they rule the oceans.
  • Girls' Frontline (or Doll's Frontline) is the anime of the Girls' Frontline video game, featuring female androids who are anthropomorphized guns.
  • Girls' Last Tour is a Downplayed example. Chito and Yuuri wear what look like military uniforms and helmets, Yuuri has a rifle, and they ride in a Kettenkrad half-track motorcycle, but they aren't actually part of any military, and the story mostly focuses on how the girls get by in a post-apocalyptic world. There aren't enough people left in the world to form any sort of military unit.
  • Girls und Panzer is set In a World… where the sport of sensha-do (the Way of the Tank) is seen as a feminine martial art and stars the daughter of a prestigious sensha-do school.
  • Played with in Gunslinger Girl. The girls are not involved with the military specifically but are still in government-related roles. They're all cute preteen girls, and the token oldest one can't be older than seventeen, who regularly wield guns... however, it's played up for drama, with the girls being Child Soldiers, with Dark and Troubled Pasts who all die, in a cynical world where the adults are also deeply troubled. The manga can't quite make up its mind on whether it's a deconstruction or not: the original anime is definitely deconstructive, but the second season Teatrino uses a "moe" art style that's even cuter than the manga's and plays this trope up more.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers was originally this using a mainly male cast. Early on it was meant to adapt World War II but with humanized countries. While most characters still wear military uniforms, the actual content of the series doesn't relate as much to war or the military as it once did.
  • High School Fleet is about a training ship for the all-women's naval force, the Blue Mermaids.
  • In Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, the heroines are part of the (nearly) all-female crew of a Japanese cruiser in World War II, who run into a German U-boat (crewed mostly by women) and later a British destroyer (captained entirely by women). Romantic entanglements ensue.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS featured this aesthetic, transposing the now-adult Magical Girls from the previous series into command positions of an almost-all-female paramilitary Space Police unit. This proved to be just a phase for the franchise, however, since Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force ditched most of the "moe" in "military moe" (and was eventually canceled), while subsequent anime and manga ditched the "military" part and went the "martial arts moe" route, focusing on the new generation of magical girls raised by the previous heroines.
  • The Magnificent Kotobuki is about a squadron of 6 mercenary pilot girls who make their living taking to the skies and defending transport zeppelins from Sky Pirate attacks.
  • In Mao-chan, the leaders of Japan's military branches fight adorable alien invaders with their even more adorable granddaughters.
  • Panzerfraulein Alteseisen is about an all-female tank unit faced with the horrors of a Forever War between the Kingdom and The Federation. While it shares the same character designer and aesthetic from Girls und Panzer, it is not a happy story.
  • Shirobako has an In-Universe example in Third Aerial Girls' Squad, a manga that the characters work on adapting into an anime during the show's second half. From what we know of it, it centers on a group of girls who pilot fighter planes from the seventies and prior in order to fight an alien invasion.
  • Sound of the Sky follows a bugler in the all-women 1121st platoon of the Helvetian Army.
  • Strike Witches is set in an alternate 1939, where aliens called the Neuroi have attacked the Earth, forcing the Earth's militaries to raise units of all-female magic users on broomsticks. The Striker Units they use prevent them from wearing any pants in combat.
  • Mohiro Kitoh has written some works in this genre, believe it or not.
    • The first such work by him was Owari to Hajimari no Miles, which takes place in a world where machines go after they die. It's centered on a teenage girl in a relationship with the spirit of the battleship Nagato.
    • Kitoh's second attempt at this genre was Hayabusa-chan mo Tondemasu, which is about a girl who can turn into a Kawasaki Ki-43 fighter plane.
  • Upotte!!: A Slice of Life manga and anime about anthropomorphized military firearms attending school.
  • Warlords of Sigrdrifa: A multimedia project about a squadron of supernaturally enchanted girls and their planes fighting against a horrific monstrous invading force known as the Pillars, which cannot be harmed by any normal weapons, up to and including nukes.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia Series visual novels (including the RPG gacha mobile game version of "Grisaia: Chronos Rebellion") features an abandoned school which becomes a base for female soldiers (who appear to be teenagers, preteens and young adults) of the defense unit SORD (Social Ops Research and Development) from Japan-America anti-terrorism organization CIRS (Central Intelligence Research Second). There's always a man who works as a handler and a soldier in every game.